BLOOD BROTHERS BLOG #9: Volunteer Carole Tosiello
"Adventurous theater in Astoria"

-- The New York Times

BLOOD BROTHERS BLOG #9: Volunteer Carole Tosiello

 It’s just a square, the floor of a gym surrounded on three sides by seats, yet through the magic that is “Blood Brothers”, we are transported to a time and place far from that simple set.RowaninShow
In what might sound like a total distraction, all the props ring that square, and the entire cast rarely leaves it either. They sit in chairs awaiting their next scene while simultaneously reacting to what goes on before them. Like the audience, they smile when Mickey tugs on his sweater and proclaims himself to be nearly eight!
They, too, stare dreamily as Mrs.Johnstone dances “like Marilyn Monroe.” And like a Greek chorus of
next-door neighbors, they beat drums, the tables beside them, or their breasts as if to warn, to share the pain, to express the heaviness of the sorrow and the secrets that unfold. We should be distracted by all that takes our eyes off the action in center square, but they draw us in further and are in fact as wonderful to watch as whoever is “on stage” at that moment.  In turn, each dons a hat, takes a prop and suddenly becomes the milkman, a constable, a teacher. The same actor may put on a curly white wig, grab a cane, stoop and be transformed into an ageing judge.
aging judge
Another dons a helmet and nerdy black glasses and emerges as a taunted child playing at World War II. (The controlled chaos of the children’s games is a dizzying delight!) The transitions that the main characters undergo, both children and adults, from innocent and playful to hunted and haunted, are matched at every turn by the supporting cast. Behind it all is the seamless sound of the music. Never overpowering the voices, it aids in casting the spell while subtly calling attention to itself as we hear a horn or guitar along with the keyboards or note that a drummer also plays the flute!  At APAC it always comes down to a ridiculously talented cast in the hands of a clever choreographer and masterful music director, not to forget the visionary director who knows a well-told tale starts in a square.
Photos by Jen Maufrais Kelly

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